4.10.2014

[RAW] Video Games: Do they benefit my life?




Okay, let's be really honest here, video games do not seriously benefit anyone's life unless they are trying to be a professional gamer or work in the gaming industry. And even if it were the latter, it takes more than spending countless hours playing video games to make a decent living off of doing whatever it is you are qualified for at a gaming company. So when someone says "yes, video games do benefit my life" are they really just being naive or in denial? If not, how could it possibly benefit their lives? 

My extent of "gaming" really only goes to one video game and that is LEAGUE OF LEGENDS. I probably talk a lot about this game on facebook and elsewhere so naturally, a lot of my non gamer friends are intrigued about the game and why I like it so much.

"LoL" to me is a 'hobby', one that may or may not really benefit my life but I enjoy. I can play the game casually or be more serious about it and play competitively. I can play one game and be done with it in an hour or spend literally, an entire day just playing the game. What do I like about this game so much that I can dedicate a good chunk of my time to it? The truth is, it's not that it's so much fun or because there's so much to do. It's actually quite a redundant game with the same objectives and same game play and same map over and over again. But the simple truth is, I like this game because I think I'm GOOD AT IT. And I want to get better at it.

I have never really been an active gamer in my life but I grew up with video games. I grew up loving the gaming community. Although I wasn't very hands on with it, it's just a culture I really enjoy. But League was the first game where I thought I was actually 'good' as a gamer, if that makes sense. Imagine following sports your entire life but you never actually played any sports yourself. What if one day you decide to go shoot some hoops with your friends and realize you're actually good at basketball? All this time you never played yourself, because maybe you were lazy or maybe you didn't think you were good at it in real life. But once you go out there and try it, you just realize it's fun, it's addicting and you are good at it. Are you going to just stop playing basketball from there on out? No, you're going to keep playing and get better. 

You could ask the same question for that scenario -- how does playing basketball for fun benefit your life? The thing is, most people wouldn't ask that because sports have a physical benefit. They make you active. It's healthy to be active and therefore, it 'benefits' you physically. But people don't really think about how it could benefit you psychologically. Being active in a sport is a tremendous benefit for you mentally. You continue to play because you want to get better. Your technique, your speed, your ability to juke your opponents, these things all become factors. You learn to strategize. You learn to outwit your opponents. You learn to be faster, make accurate free throws and so on. All of that opens up your mind to think more, think faster and think more laterally. It opens up your ability to think logically, strategically and configures decision making skills. But all of that also can be contributed by gaming. 

Gaming does the exact same thing. There are numerous amount of studies that back up this claim, but it's also not rocket science to understand if you think about it. Gaming has the same psychological effects on your brain as sports does. Gaming can elevate the heart creating adrenaline, pushing your body harder and opening up the parts of your brain that utilizes critical thinking. And trying to get better at video game expands that critical thinking, which can impact real life decisions. And in terms of physical benefits, you'd be surprised how much it can improve your reflexes. Ever since I started playing League of Legends, my reaction time has gotten much faster.

But all of that aside, video games are FUN okay. It's not like gamers really need to explain that to anyone. If it wasn't fun, why would we spend time playing it? And let's be honest, what exactly does a hobby i.e., like 'knitting' help you with in life? Sure you'll have cool sweaters and scarves, but does it actually benefit your life? (Not hating on knitting, just an example lol) My point is, there are tons of hobbies that are not video games that people do not question because they seem like 'normal' hobbies. But a lot of times, video games get a bad rep because they are attributed to being "time wasters" that don't do anything for you in the long run but make you lazy. What about fashion? What about makeup? What about making youtube videos? All of these things benefit a person the same amount that gaming would. Some get successful with it if they are lucky. Majority of them get nothing out of it financially -- but hey, it's fun and that's what matters.

I know people who have found their significant others through video games. I know people who have been depressed because of a tramatic life experience and video games helped them cope with it. I know people who have found their ultimate passion and life goals through video games. Some people have found their dream jobs through gaming. Video games have their own community and sub culture. Hell, "e-sports" is considered an actual 'major' in Korea! Games have come a long long way folks. It's time that people stop acting as if this isn't 2014. We have come a long way. This is an era that is consumed in technology and the virtual world. Video games may not really benefit every single person who 'wastes' time with it, but it certainly serves its purpose to those who are passionate about it. 

So no, maybe games do not directly benefit my life and maybe spending too much time gaming isn't exactly healthy, but it does make an impact on my life. It gives me enjoyment. It gives me a reason to try harder and be good at something. Sorry but, not a lot of people can say that they are good at anything. Hell, I'll take being good at gaming over nothing any day. 




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